Sorry about the stupid formatting;
Booksie decides to show a good edit, and then posts this
Now where was he? Steve blinked in confusion as reality slowly
came back to him. He was sitting inside a room that looked
exactly like the Project Backwards room, but it couldn't be,
could it? It must be a delusion! Yet there was the time machine,
looking real enough, with the wires and electronic sensors
attached to him. It couldn't be real; he was getting tired of
Project Backwards, but had no control over it, so this must be a
manifestation of his wanting out. Every time he met somebody from
the past; he jumped and met somebody else. Mostly, he wished that
he hadn't, because the image of them he had in his mind often was
proven wildly inaccurate upon meeting. Not only inaccurate, but
they were dicks! Now he'd jumped into yet-another time line. Just
then, the door to the office swung open, and a man strode into
the room; a man who Steve recognized immediately; General Wells!
Then he took another look at the room around him. Sure enough, it
was the same room where he and Wells had launched Project
Backwards; this was real! It had caught him by surprise because
he must have been gone for weeks.
"Hello H.P., I never thought I'd see you again!"
"Steve, what in the hell are you talking about? I thought there
was a knock at the door, but when I looked, no one was there, and
I've only stepped away for maybe 20 seconds. I told you this hunk
of s**t wouldn't work!"
"What do you mean, 20 seconds? I've been gone several days, at
least. And wouldn't work? I suppose if you call meeting Napoleon,
Neil Armstrong, Charles Lindbergh, Douglas MacArthur, Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle, Rudolph Valentino, Raquel Welsh, Mozart, Dr. Sigmund
Freud, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, King
George of England, Elvis Presley, Bill Gates, Jimmi Hendrix,
Alexander Graham Bell, Jack the Ripper, and Benjamin Franklin not
working, then yeah, it didn't work."
Speaking of Jack the Ripper, he should tell the press who Jack
the Ripper is...is...well s**t, he had forgotten. Damn; just
another mysterious thing he didn't understand about the time
"Well, unless you met all those people during the roughly last 20
seconds, it didn't."
"That's the 2nd time you've mentioned 20 seconds; what's up with
"Yeah, I started the machine, and immediately came the knock on
the door. It literally took about 20 seconds to answer the door,
find nobody, and come back here. There is absolutely no way you
could have met that many people; maybe one, but that would be
just a quick hello."
"I'm telling you, I've been gone for days!"
"Sure, whatever you say!"
"Everything I've told you is the absolute truth. And what about
you meeting Mozart?"
"Mozart? Whatever you're smoking, dude, must be some knarly s**t,
"Fine, if you don't believe me, you sit in this chair, and I'll
turn it on, and you'll see I'm telling you the truth!"
"Give it up!"
"No, trade places with me; what are you, scared?"
"Scared? No, I think the only thing that damn machine did was
mash potato your brains, but fine, if it'll get you to drop your
ludicrous claim about meeting and becoming Hitler's pen-pal, or
whatever, I'll do it!"
"I never claimed I met Hitler, but maybe you will!"
"Bulls**t!" he said, but changed places with Steve. Once Steve
had reached the control button, he said, "Get ready for the
adventure of a lifetime, H.P!"
He pushed the button to activate the machine, and waited for
things to happen. The General seemed to lose eye focus, and then
his head slumped forward. It was working; now H.P. would see the
truth! After what seemed to Steve to be only half a minute, H.P.
stirred, and opened his eyes.
"Whoa, I see what you mean. I woke up in bed with a famous woman.
It was Marie Antoinette; I couldn't believe it!"
"See, I told you! What did she have to say?"
"She asked me 'What the f**k are you doing in my bedroom? I'm the
Queen of France; if you touch me, I'll have your head cut off!'"
No, nothing happened Numb-Nuts, the worthless hunk of s**t
doesn't work," and he picked up an aluminum baseball bat he used
for 'The Project Backwards' softball team, and took out his
frustration on the hapless machine.
"Stop! Look what you're doing to the time machine!"
His words were separated by blows with the bat.
"Stop!" yelled Steve again, but the destruction continued, until
at last the General's fury subsided, and he stopped beating on
the machine. The lump of crap that was left was spread across the
floor; bits of metal and pieces of gauges were strewn everywhere.
A shocked Steve, who didn't realize he was actually speaking,
said in a whisper, "Well, that's wrecked; thank goodness I wrote
down exactly what I did, so I can build another one."
"Ah, s**t! Do you mean those?" General Wells said, pointing to a
pile of papers on Steve's desk; and before Steve could stop him,
Wells grabbed the pile of papers and ripped them to shreds.
"There, now this bitch of a project's dead!"
Steve looked at the pile of now-useless metal and shredded-up
papers, and his shoulders slumped. "Three years of work, gone!"
"You mean three years of a total waste; Imagine, three years of a
lunatic hoovering up tax payer money!"
Steve pushed the welding goggles up, and decided it was
pointless; He was going to start from scratch, but he had
realized it was hopeless. There was no way he could remember all
the steps that had enabled him to meet famous people from
history. He would have to do all the research over again. And
then, after three more years, there was no guarantee it would
work again. He got depressed, thinking the world would never know
about his unbelievable grand adventures! Then he thought,
I may not be able to build another time machine, but I can
still write a book!
Steve started typing on his word processer, "My eyes slowly began
to register light. I blinked my eyes rapidly, and..."